We’re already refinancing our mortgage due to the recent rate drops (it’s a free refi that doesn’t increase our loan balance). So, we had to get reappraised. I didn’t think we’d see a value increase because it’s only been 4 months. Well, I was wrong. Our appraised value went up 2% in four months, and I think I’ve figured out why. If you’re planning to sell your house in a traditional sale, take these steps to improve your home value and your chances of getting the price you need.
Polish or Refinish the Floors
We bought a foreclosure with bamboo floors. Unfortunately, the previous owners used it as a rental property and the tenants had a dog. Bamboo floors and dogs don’t mix. The floors in the main living areas had deep dirty grooves in them. We had the floors refinished before we moved in. All the scratches are gone and they gleam beautifully.
Apply Fresh Interior Paint
When we bought our house, all of the walls were Swiss Coffee – the classic rental color. It’s also boring as hell and the walls were filthy. The furnace had never been cleaned (it has been now), so it had 5-7 years worth of dust and grime in it. That black grime was on the ceilings and the walls in the rooms closest to the furnace. We scrubbed the walls and applied fresh paint in several attractive colors. The walls look fresh and bright and new.
Install Shutters and Blinds
We didn’t install shutters and blinds in the whole house, just in the rooms where we’re not making curtains. These stay with the house when you leave, so they also add to the value.
Clean Up the Yard
Although it’s not really supposed to influence the appraisal, a messy yard can. Our yard wasn’t raked, but we’ve trimmed the trees and removed two dead ones. Even if it doesn’t affect the home value, overgrown trees can detract from a buyer’s impression of the house because they’ll factor in the cost to trim them.
Paint the Trim
When the termite company repaired the termite damage, they didn’t prime the replacement boards on the front of the house or in the carport. They just left it bare wood. I recently primed and painted those boards. At the same time, I peeled off some of the paint in areas where it was visibly peeling and cracking and painted that, too. I had the paint matched perfectly, so you can’t even tell where I touched up. The house looks much better with fresh trim.
I can’t say for sure how much these things improved the value, but the living room paint was five days old when the appraiser came. He even commented that it was a nice color, as did our handyman and my parents. I walked him through and showed him everything we’d fixed or had done.
Now, if you want the bank to agree to a short sale, don’t do any of these things. You want the house to look bad and overgrown so the bank will think it’s worth less and won’t get much as a foreclosure.